Yes, I did it and I’m not going to apologize!

Last Sunday (yeah, I said last Sunday… I’m behind and catching up) I stood on stage and recruited new volunteers. GASP! Yeah, I know. It is something I speak against, but I’m not going to apologize. Actually, it was my first opportunity to be introduced to my church. Two weeks earlier it was announced that the previous Children’s Pastor had resigned and would be moving to Colorado in two weeks. A lot of people thought that I was his replacement. So, it was a good opportunity for me to introduce myself and explain my new role. Second, I had the opportunity to share a little vision. On August 24th we’re promoting for the next year and also launching over 30 small groups in our elementary program The relational element has been missing here and is certainly a felt need. So, I got to share how we’re launching small groups and how our passion is that every child be connected relationally to a small group of peers and an adult leaders. Last of all, I told people that now is the best time of all to join the CM team. There was a piece in the program that they could fill out and drop in the offering or they could come and meet me in person after the services. We had a good response and about half of those who...

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Leadership variance

I’ve learned something very interesting since arriving here at Gateway. They’re very intentional and specific about leaders. This is probably why they have two full time staff members dedicated specifically to leadership development. When I was at previous churches, I always had leaders as well as volunteers. Other ministries had leaders as well as volunteers. However, my leaders didn’t always look like the student ministry leaders… or the adult ministry leaders either. What I called a leader may look totally different from what the student pastor called a leader. However, we would often sit around the table in meetings and talk about our leaders and every probably assumed that we were talking about the same thing. We weren’t. No one had ever set a standard of what a leader looked like. Here is what leadership looks like at Gateway. We have: Volunteers Coordinators Potential Leaders Emerging Leaders Leaders It may sound complicated, but it isn’t. A leader is someone who is spiritually leading others. An emerging leader is someone who is partially through the leadership process (interview and such). They may be leading people spiritually, but not without someone else’s direct oversight. Potential leaders are those who have the stuff of leadership. They just need to go through the interview process. Coordinators are people who are leading people with tasks. No spiritual oversight at all. Volunteers are those helping...

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Do they love it?

I met with my Kids staff today. We had a very interesting discussion on volunteer recruiting. Interestingly enough, the discussion we had was very similar to what Pudge blogged today. We were talking about the methods we’ll be recruiting new volunteers over the summer. We’ve got several plans in the oven as we plan to saturate people with the opportunity to plug in. One of my staff then asked about how we get our existing volunteers to recruit for us. Her thought was that if they are currently serving, they would be the best recruiters. Although we have many volunteers and leaders who LOVE serving in Kids Quest, few volunteers recruit help. We discussed it further and there is a need for training and equipping volunteers who love the ministry to recruit more help. However, I had a few thoughts. First of all, I’ve talked with my staff from two other churches about getting volunteers to recruit other volunteers. We’ve even talked about great contests where the volunteer who recruited the most would win a big prize. However, I’ve never been anywhere where volunteers were a strong recruiting force. I went on to tell my staff. When I got to a restaurant that I love, I tell a lot of people. When I see a great movie, I tell a lot of people. When I get a new product/gadget...

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What I’m reading

Lately I’ve been a crazy reading man! I just updated the ‘Books I’m Reading” and Books I’ve Read” widget on the right. Unfortunately I’ve been reading Bringing Up Boys for over a year now (I need to either just wrap that one up or take it off my list). I’m about three chapters away from finishing “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.” I’ve got some blogs coming out in the next few weeks addressing this book. It’s been hitting me on so many different levels, both personally and vocationally. In the last two weeks I devoured Patrick Lencioni’s books “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” and “Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business.” I have upcoming posts on both of these books as well. As a staff at Gateway, we’re reading “Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time.” It’s a major focus for us, so I’m sure I’ll have many posts interacting with this one. Next week, however; I plant to dive into Covey’s “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.” After that, I’ll still have two more books that Nancy Ortberg told me to read while at Orange (I just haven’t listed them on the widget yet… I have too many “Books I’m Reading” there already). Last of all, I’ve...

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Clarification: Opportunity of a lifetime

Last week I read an incredible post from the Access: Elevation blog. It concerned how you communicate available volunteer positions to potential volunteers. Again, it’s one of those “don’t communicate the need, communicate the vision” ideas. However, Larry Brey communicated perfectly how serving is the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s a personal invite to participate in the single most powerful movement and organization in the world. The Church! Bravo, it’s a great post that many can take and adapt to their volunteer/recruiting process. However… There is something I need to clarify. Something that appears to be missing. Yes, I think it would be incredible if we communicated this message to potential volunteers. Yes, I believe that serving in the church (especially in the kids ministry) 🙂 IS an opportunity of a lifetime. BUT, (listen closely) too often we don’t treat it that way. It’s easy to communicate how important the job is and how great an opportunity it is, but after we fill that spot we sometimes check that one off the list, move on to the next one and neglect the person who just bought what we were selling! If we truly believe that serving in the church is the opportunity of a lifetime, then we’ll treat every position with total respect. We’ll clearly communicate to our new volunteer. We’ll adequately train our new volunteer. We’ll walk beside...

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A HUGE favor: Helping someone discover their passion

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been hearing some interesting stories from some of the men who serve in the Children’s Ministry here at Gateway Church. One guy told me about how he and his wife responded to a plea for help in the Children’s Ministry. One day the Children’s Pastor turned to him and said, “I think you’d be perfect to operate and voice the Elmer puppet (our preschool character).” Now this guy is incredibly passionate about “being” Elmer and is also overseeing a dad’s group. Another guy started volunteering in the classroom where his daughter attended. At that point in time, he was an agnostic. Now he’s one of the lead teachers (no, he’s not an agnostic anymore). He wears a cape to work with the kids. Why? Because he’s passionate about being a hero to these kids. I observed (I haven’t met him yet) another guy who is the host of our Preschool Elmer’s Clubhouse (he’s the emcee). He’s one of the best I’ve seen. I asked about how they found him. I was then told that his wife dragged him into it. She wanted to serve and didn’t want to do it by herself. One day someone handed him the microphone and he hasn’t given it back yet. There are many more stories just like these, I just haven’t discovered them all yet. I’ve...

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Dysfunction and Death

That’s a title that will get attention! Two weeks ago at Orange, I attended a breakout with Nancy Ortberg about creating healthy conflict. I sat amazed about this new paradigm (I thought we were all supposed to get along). Apparently we’re supposed to duke it out in staff meeting. I like it! After the breakout I asked Nancy for more information. I wanted to grow in this area. She gave me the names of three books. So that week I went to the bookstore and came home with five (not sure how that happened exactly). So far I’ve read two. Death by Meeting and the Five Dysfunctions of Team. Incredible books. I’ve heard of Death by Meeting and a previous employer recommended the Five Dysfunctions. Both books have encouraged me in many ways, especially as I’m new to my organization. I’ve been leading meeting for years, yet no one every taught me how to lead a meeting. I’ve lead teams for years and several of my teams have had some forms of dysfunction. Now I feel much better equipped to lead both teams and meetings in a slightly different way. So, if you lead teams and meetings, you’ll love these books. There’s a common bond between them and I’m sure they’ll help you in your situation. Soon I’ll blog about each of these books in detail. I’m curious though....

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Is my vision leaky?

I’m not exactly sure that “leaky” is a real word. But I think it’s a question we all have to ask ourselves. Actually, there are many questions that have to be established before asking this one. 1. Do I even have a vision? We can’t afford to get so busy with doing ministry that we don’t have a vision. Trust me, I’ve operated in ministry for years without one… it’s completely possible. Give me a day and I can program that sucker to death. However, without a map, we’re just staying busy. Good things will happen and lives will be changed, but only at a glimpse of what could be. 2. Does my vision align with my church’s vision? Hopefully the church has one. If not, hijack the next staff meeting and lock the doors until one can be established. But now I need to make sure my vision aligns with the church mission. I’ve found that most of the time I’ve had to derive the children’s vision from the church’s simply because the church’s vision statement “as is” didn’t completely jive with kids. However, I can create one that supports and points toward the church’s vision. 3. Do I eat, breath speak and sleep this vision (does that even make any sense)? Did I write a vision, mission and values to simply fill up page two on the...

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Vision Leaks

A similar thought as been thrown at me from many different directions this last month. This though involves vision. Steven Furtick in one of his audio blog talked about speaking vision so much your throat is hoarse. At Orange, Craig Jutila spoke about how without vision, people run wild (Craig does a great job helping people develop mission and vision to present to their organizations). Then just yesterday, I was confronted with a powerful example of vision working the way it is supposed to. Vision when it leaks down and saturates the organization. Yesterday, just before I was leaving church for the day I decided to say hi to the facilities director. Okay, I know, most of you already have a picture in your head of a “facilities director.” A shabby old man, unkempt hair and a rag hanging out of his back pocket perhaps. The facility director at Gateway doesn’t fit that mold at all. First of all, this is Austin. Second of all, there just aren’t a lot of shabby janitor types at Gateway Church. But I’ve worked with a lot of facilities guys. I’ve only worked with one that totally amazed me. He bought into the idea that his job directly supported ministry and he saw his job as a ministry. All the others seemed to come across as bitter old men, always complaining that the...

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Orange 2008: Synchronizing Volunteers

This session was led by Craig Jutila. Someone said that most of this information is in his book “Daze to Knights.” I knew he had this book, but I didn’t think this was about volunteers. I’ve heard Craig on several occasions and I’ve heard most of this stuff before. However, it is good stuff and I really needed to hear it again. Volunteerism is one of the biggest issues in ministry, so everyone could hear this stuff multiple times. First things: You don’t organize people, you align them You build people first and programs second You understand that without people, you do not nor can you have a healthy ministry Without a mission statement, you will never thrive with your volunteers We are all made differently One of the problems we have is that we often try to make everyone do the same about of work. People are different. Our goal should be to help them reach their potential. Craig talked about the 80/20 rule. 20% of your volunteers are doing 80% of the work. It’s a principle… expect this. Those 20% are your high impact volunteers. Of 100% of your volunteers, here is how they might break down: 5% – Influential: Empower 15% – Initiator: Energize 30% – Independent: Equip 50% – Industrious: Encourage Craig then talked about how Jesus led “volunteers.” 1 Corinthians 15:6 – Jesus appeared...

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